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Security concerns have led the French Olympic gymnastics te

August 14, 1988

TOKYO (AP) _ Security concerns have led the French Olympic gymnastics team to cancel plans to practice at a sports center in Hiroshima prior to the Seoul Games, a news report said Sunday.

The team canceled plans to practice for the Games at the Sun Plaza Hall in Hiroshima after being informed the Hiroshima Prefecture Gymnastics Association was not confident in its ability to secure the athletes’ safety, Kyodo news reported.

The Kyodo report said the association requested the team cancel, and later suggested they practice in Gumma prefecture, north of Tokyo.

Sun Plaza Hall spokesman Yorimitsu Kadohara told The Associated Press the team had abruptly canceled their plans to stay in early September, but would not comment further.

A Hiroshima Prefectural Police official, however, denied the report, saying the team had changed practice sites for ″other reasons.″ He refused to elaborate.

″We were very surprised by the cancelation and haven’t said anything to the effect that we couldn’t guarantee their safety,″ the officer said, requesting anonymity. He said the Brazilian volleyball team is also expected to train in Hiroshima.

Gymnastics association officials were unavailable Sunday for comment.

Teams from 40 countries are expected to practice in Japan before traveling on to Seoul because of the quality of training facilities here and the similar climate. The Games run Sept. 17 to Oct. 2 in the South Korean capital.

Update hourly